Archive for the 'Military' Category


210. Secretary Shinseki’s Message to Gulf War Veterans.

August 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Gulf War, launched with Operation Desert Shield and followed by Operation Desert Storm. VA honors this milestone with a renewed commitment to improving our responsiveness to the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans.

First and foremost, VA is an advocate for Veterans – we are committed to finding innovative solutions to long standing issues and to empowering Veterans and other stakeholders to be a part of the solution.

VA recognizes and values the selfless service and sacrifice of Gulf War Veterans and their families, and continues our efforts to address the unique health needs of Gulf War Veterans.

Today, more than 250,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans receive disability benefits from VA. VA has treated nearly 150,000 Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veterans for illnesses associated with their military service. We vow to reach more of these Veterans and have taken steps to do so. Earlier this year, VA proposed a new rule to make it easier for Gulf War-era Veterans to obtain disability compensation and related health care. This rule, once it takes effect, will grant presumptive service-connection for nine infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan.

In addition, VA’s ongoing Gulf War research and Task Force efforts continue to examine multisymptom illnesses, and other conditions associated with service in this conflict. VA continues to participate in Federal research efforts on Gulf War illnesses, contributing more than $158 million of the $406 million in total Federal commitment.

VA is taking bold steps forward in how we consider and address the challenges facing Gulf War Veterans as well as the challenges facing all Veterans. Our commitment to the Nation’s Veterans is unwavering.

As your Secretary and fellow Veteran, I pay tribute to all of you who so bravely served and thank all Gulf War Veterans for their heroic efforts. Our Nation owes you a debt of gratitude. We acknowledge and honor the contributions of your service. Thank you.
–Eric K. Shinseki


208. New Era of Responsibility?

A transformed VA will be a high-performing 21st century department, a different organization from the one that exists today. Beyond the next five years, we’re looking for new ways of thinking and acting. We are asking why, 40 years after Agent Orange was last used in Vietnam, this Secretary had to adjudicate claims for service-connected disabilities that have now been determined presumptive. And why, 20 years after Desert Storm, we are still debating the debilitating effects of whatever causes Gulf War Illness. If we do not stay attuned to the health needs of our returning veterans, 20 or 40 years from now, some future Secretary could be adjudicating presumptive disabilities from our ongoing conflicts. We must do better, and we will.

General Eric Shimseki,

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Back in January Wanderingvets posted news of retired General Eric Shinseki taking the office as Secretary of Veterans Affairs .(Real Changes Ahead for Veterans Affairs?) With the confirmation of General Shinseki there was great hope that the VA would be revamped to better serve the needs of our growing veteran population. This week General Shinseki addressed Congress with a “State of the VA Message” that is the result of 9 months of assessments within the VA.

Out of my discussions with Veterans, three concerns keep coming through — access, the backlog, and homeless Veterans.

It would seem that General Shimseki has a very accurate pulse on the shortcomings that have been demonstrated with the current VA system.
From medical negligence to a long backlog of disability claims for veterans,the layers of improvements needed for treating our veterans with the services they deserve seems to have been identified.

It’s very encouraging to see the needs of our homeless veterans being acknowledged and addressed by the VA. With 25% of all homeless Americans being veterans this is an area that has been put on the back burner for too long. The current VA system does little to reduce the burden of homelessness for veterans and historically has let community organization bear the burden of providing for homeless veterans. Sadly, in this current economic climate community resources aren’t able to meet the growing needs of all homeless citizens and many of our veterans remain on the streets without shelter.A survey by the National Coalition for The Homeless shows that shelters for the homeless only provide shelter for less than 40% of people in need of basic services.  A previous statistic by the VA estimated 154,000 veterans (male and female) are homeless on any given night and perhaps twice as many experince homelessness at some point during the course of a year. The VA claims this number is being reduced despite the overall rise in the homeless population in the US and the need for expanded VA services due to returning military from Iraq.

Veterans lead the Nation in homelessness, depression, substance abuse, and suicides. We now estimate that 131,000 Veterans live on the streets of this wealthiest and most powerful Nation in the world, down from 195,000 six years ago. Some of those homeless are here in Washington, D.C. — men and women, young and old, fully functioning and disabled, from every war generation, even the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will invest $3.2 billion next year to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans — $2.7 billion on medical services and $500 million on specific homeless housing programs. With 85 percent of homelessness funding going to health care, it means that homelessness is a significant health care issue, heavily burdened with depression and substance abuse. We think we have the right partners, the right plans, and the right programs in place on safe housing. We’ll monitor and adjust the balance as required to continue increasing our gains in eliminating Veteran homelessness. We are moving in the right direction to remove this blot on our consciences, but we have more work to do.

The men and women of the armed forces have been made a promise that if they defend our country in military service, we will provide them with the benefits they have earned. Sadly, the VA has fallen short on this promise to our Veterans on many accounts. Does this recent report to Congress mark a new era of responsibility  to our Veterans or will we continue to have the “blot” of  unkept promises on our consciences? Only time will tell.


197. Time To Take A Stand

Dear Friends:

As I live and work trying to recoup my life and livelihood I see others sinking into the mire of what happened to me a little while back. Having lost my income and livelihood due to recession and changes in the market I believe gives me a little bit of perspective into other aspects of what is going on in this nation. Continue reading ‘197. Time To Take A Stand’


166. Mystery Caller and the VA Helpline

Dear Friends:

Sometimes my inbox receives some incredible articles. Here is one for Veterans that I feel is important to share that was sent to me courtesy of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. A full copy of the article is attached below. One can also receive the wrong information from the VA showing up in person as well. Articles like this make one need to learn more and know your veterans rights.

Mystery caller and VA help line


The mystery caller dialed the Department of Veterans Affairs help line 1,089 times in 2002. And it created quite a problem. Continue reading ‘166. Mystery Caller and the VA Helpline’


165. HR 840, The Hearth Act.



Dear Friends:

Wow what times we are seeing and living in! Bank failures, foreclosures, gasoline rising to nearly $5.00 in parts of the U.S., more companies (including banks) laying off more Americans, and relief being needed in every corner.   Listening to our President, or any of the Presidential Candidates running , it will take years for the nation to turn around.

In the meantime, while all of the economic woes are hitting this country, more and more Americans are falling through the cracks. Homeless shelters are filling and the need for aid is increasing.  Congress has HR 840, The Hearth Act before them this week before the House Finance’s Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. This measure does not bail out a sector of industry, it aids human beings more directly. Continue reading ‘165. HR 840, The Hearth Act.’


151. Homeless Veterans Memorial Day

I admit I am disappointed…

When I started this site I wrote about my daily experiences, things I investigated, places I have traveled, and have gone to lengths to research and point out about homelessness among veterans as well as what the homeless in this land experience. I feel like I have failed.My top post on this site that people read or google is on snaring rabbits. I planted snares while being on the roads of this country for survival, not to become the tell all on how to kill a rabbit. It seems I cannot get anyone interested in helping homeless veterans . The VA and other Municipalities should publish how their methods of injuring the homeless is more effective than writing about or helping the homeless.

We recently celebrated Memorial Day. According to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Dr. James Peake, we had buried up to 40,000 Homeless Veterans last year. The VA Secretary was parroting this information claiming they are successfully reducing homelessness among Veterans. I move to make the day after Memorial Day the Homeless Veteran’s Memorial Day.

I cannot believe the apathy this country has regarding our homeless population. Maybe Sally Struthers, George Clooney, and Sean Penn and other actors make it easier to save the children and other nationalities overseas as opposed to “On Our Streets”. Together every actor wants to help someone in a foreign land while driving their Rolls Royce or Porsche past their own suffering countryman. I guess that since this is the land of “Opportunity” unless GM, Ford, Johnson Controls or Motorola sent your job to overseas factories and almost bankrupted your city that is OK. Funny, kids are being killed for NIKE shoes on their feet, invented in America by a track coach, now made in factories by overseas workers.
Continue reading ‘151. Homeless Veterans Memorial Day’

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